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 Article Written by Maria Gonzalez — Medically reviewed by Cosimo Simeone and Rohini Prasannan 

Introduction:

Are you struggling with restless nights? You’re not alone. Insomnia is a growing and common condition that affects people worldwide. In fact It can be a significant challenge to achieve a good sleep cycle and maintain overall well-being (1)

Did you know that insomnia affects about 9%-12% of the population? That’s a significant number of people who are searching for ways to improve their sleep quality. If you’re having trouble getting a healthy relaxation routine, you’re not alone.

Furthermore, it’s important to know that even just a few nights of bad sleep can be classified as insomnia. While it may not seem like a significant problem at first, it can quickly become a constant that affects your body and mind.

Many people are always looking for ways to rest better and feel better. So, in this article, we’ll discuss what causes insomnia and the methods now available to manage and eventually stop it. In addition we’ll give you some tips to help you sleep well and feel better. Don’t let insomnia control your life. So, let’s work together to find a solution that works for you.

Identifying insomnia symptoms:

Insomnia can cause various problems, making it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get a good night’s rest. For example, you might have trouble falling asleep or take a long time transitioning from being awake to sleeping.

In addition, you might also wake up constantly at night, making it hard to get back to sleep and disrupting your rest. Even when you have time to sleep, it can be challenging to get a good night since you are already tired or have a busy mind (2). However, the symptoms for all include: 

  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed.
  • Waking up many times throughout the night.
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness.
  • Constantly worrying about sleep.
  • Irritability or anxiety.
  • Difficulty paying attention or focusing on tasks .

What are the types of insomnia?

It can be tough dealing with insomnia, and there are different types depending on how long it lasts. Of course, remember that there’s no one solution that works for everyone. Insomnia affects people in different ways, but there are ways to improve your sleep with the right approach. With that said, there are three types: 

  • Transient insomnia: It lasts less than a month.
  • Short-term or acute insomnia: Typically lasts less than six months.
  • Chronic insomnia: Over six months.

Moreover stress or a traumatic incident can cause many people to have short-term insomnia at some point in their lives. However, some people suffer from long-term (chronic) insomnia that can enhance the symptoms (3) 

Possible causes of insomnia

Having a good sleep sometimes can be challenging, but there is a helpful tool that can make a difference. However, the 3 P’s method attempts to identify all the causes that might be stopping you from getting a good night sleep. Furthermore has been proven that works for those with insomnia, and it might be just what you need to achieve a more peaceful night. It covers three types of factors: predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating. 

Predisposing factors:

These are the factors that make us more vulnerable to experiencing sleep difficulties. Also it’s important to remember that some of these factors are out of our control. Moreover they can’t cause insomnia by themselves (3). They can be: 

  • Family History 
  • Anxiety 
  • Irregular sleeping schedules 

Precipitating factors:

Life changes and challenges can cause short-term stress. Certainly short-term stressors can be caused by major life changes, like relocating or beginning a new job. In addition, by more precise circumstances like preparing for exams or facing work-related obstacles. Some examples of these stressors may include:

  • Stress: Could be caused by work or school environment 
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: If you have a sedentary lifestyle and don’t move around much during the day, it could affect your sleep. You may not feel as tired, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or get a good night’s rest. 
  • Health conditions: Experiencing trauma or having a severe medical condition such as heart disease can enhance insomnia symptoms
  • Medication: Insomnia can become a side effect of certain medications, such as those for colds or asthma. (3)

Perpetuating factors:

These are just the things people do when they can’t sleep and are trying to deal with being tired. Over time, these reactions can cause insomnia to last long after the problems that caused it have been fixed. Some examples of these responses are: 

  • Spending too much time in bed in an attempt to fall asleep faster
  • Using electronic devices in bed right before going to sleep (short-term insomnia can become chronic insomnia because of these perpetuating habits)
  • Caffeine consumption throughout the day in an attempt to reduce tiredness (3).

Managing insomnia symptoms:

Even though overcoming insomnia might feel overwhelming at times, it is essential to remember that management is accessible. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is one of the treatments for insomnia that has been shown to work. CBT-I is a good way to deal with and change negative thoughts about sleep and improve sleep quality in general. You can break these up into the following suggestions:

Sleep hygiene:

  • Set a sleeping routine: Following a regular sleep schedule aligns and syncs your body’s clock with sleep.
  • Avoid taking naps: Checking the clock at night can create unnecessary worry and reduce your ability to fall asleep. Keeping the clock away will reduce your awareness of time and help you feel more at ease when trying to rest.
  • Remove any clocks from the room: watching the clock at night can be stimulating and make it harder to sleep. Putting it away reduces sleep anxiety and time awareness.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine: caffeine ingestion should be limited to a morning dose, at most in those who have insomnia. Has been shown that consumption of caffeine after 17.30 pm could affect the quality of sleep (4).

Sleep restriction:

Spending too much time in bed can worsen insomnia by increasing worries about the quality and effectiveness of sleep. Fortunately, the following suggestions can help improve the quality of your sleep:

  • Reduce your time in bed and limit the distressing experiences that sustain this condition. Try only laying in bed once you are prepared to go sleep and leave any possible distractors or stimulators outside. 
  • Make a list of things to do tomorrow, or have some fun! If you do your tasks before bedtime, you can avoid stressing about them the next day. This can make it easier to unwind after work (4).

Stimulus control:

The sensory control treatment aims to link certain aspects of your bedtime routine with your bedroom surrounding. Furthermore this aid your brain in recognizing when it’s time to sleep, ultimately leading to improved sleep quality. There are several actions you can take to achieve this, such as:

  • Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy.
  • The bed should only be used for sleeping.
  • Maintain a regular morning wake-up time.
  • Establish a sleep-inducing environment: Keep your bedroom dark and quiet and try to avoid disrupting sounds.
  • Avoid using your bed for work, studying, watching TV, or engaging in other stimulating activities.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, don’t just lay. Get up and do something calming until you feel tired again. It’s best to switch up your surroundings (4).

Other super useful self-ways to overcome insomnia:

Get regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity during the day can promote better sleep at night. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as it can increase alertness. 

Avoid stimulating substances: Reduce or eliminate the consumption of drugs, nicotine, and alcohol, particularly close to bedtime. These substances can disrupt sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.

To promote body and mind relaxation you can use mindfulness but also Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). PMR is very straightforward technique and can be easily added to a daily routine. 

  • Start by finding a comfortable chair and sitting in a relaxed position. Tense specific muscle groups on purpose, and then release the tension while focusing on the feeling of relaxation. Hold each group of muscles tight for 10–15 seconds before letting go.
  • With practice, you’ll become more aware of how your muscles feel as the day progresses. Eventually, adding PMR to your evening routine can help you relax significantly and get a better night’s sleep. Using this method, you actively relax your muscles and increase your chances of getting a peaceful, restful sleep (4).

For visual guidance on how to perform this technique, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqKIjKyElmo

When should you call a doctor? 

  • As the common symptoms of insomnia become more severe, accompanied by increasing fear and anxiety.
  • Impaired daytime functioning: If your lack of sleep is significantly affecting your daytime functioning and overall quality of life, such as causing excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, or reduced productivity, seeking medical advice is advisable.
  • Presence of new symptoms like body pain, constant feeling tired, or increased stress and worries appear.
  • Failed self-help strategies: If you have tried various self-help techniques and lifestyle changes to improve your sleep but have not achieved significant relief, seeking medical guidance can provide you with additional treatment options and personalized recommendations.
  • Chronic insomnia: If you have been experiencing insomnia for an extended period (typically longer than three months), it is important to reach out to a healthcare professional for an evaluation and potential treatment options.

If you’re facing challenges with anxiety and sleep problems, we’re available to assist you. Take a crucial step towards putting your mental health first by scheduling an appointment on our website https://mundushealth.com/make-appointments/. We are here to support you on your journey to better sleep and improved mental well-being.

Conclusions:

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, don’t worry – there are ways to improve your sleep quality. It’s important to understand your habits and the different types of insomnia, as well as their causes. Some helpful tactics to prioritize sleep include muscle relaxation, stimuli management, and good sleep hygiene. And if you’re still having trouble, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Remember to prioritize consistency, relaxation, and comfort in your sleep environment. Sweet dreams!

References:

  1. Buscemi, N., Vandermeer, B., Friesen, C., Bialy, L., Tubman, M., Ospina, M., Klassen, T. P., & Witmans, M. (2005). Manifestations and management of chronic insomnia in adults. Evidence report/technology assessment (Summary), (125), 1–10.
  2. Roth, T. (2007). Insomnia: definition, prevalence, etiology, and consequences. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine : JCSM : Official Publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 3(5 Suppl), S7-10.
  3. Morgan, K., Kucharczyk, E., & Gregory, P. (2011). Insomnia: evidence-based approaches to assessment and management. Clinical Medicine, 11(3), 278–281.
  4. Ebben, M. R., & Spielman, A. J. (2009). Non-pharmacological treatments for insomnia. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32(3), 244–254.

5 Comment

  1. Santo González

    Sleep is a very very important issues for have a productive day, cause, prepare the body to do activities with clear mind! Thks for write about this issue!

    I have problems during many years to sleep well, and this paper provide me practice information in order to improve my nights !

    Best regards!

    Santo González

  2. Johanna

    Conciliar el sueño y lograr descansar se ha convertido en mi mejor medicamento, ya que me diagnosticaron Disautonomia y si no logro dormir mis días son fatales , tomaré en cuenta las sugerencias para superar el insomnio!! Gracias

  3. Alejandra

    El tema referente al trastorno del sueño ha sido por largo tiempo una problemática en cierta población…interesante publicación porque abarca puntos que orientan a quienes padecemos de este trastorno y que en mi caso particular antes lo veia como favorable porque me permitió estudiar sin inconvenientes luego atender a los bebés pero hoy en día siento desgaste cansancio constante y dificultad para ejecutar las funciones del día con alto rendimiento y aquí plantean de manera sencilla eficaz soluciones positivas las cuales aplicaré!!! Excelente!!!

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